Current known limitations of Pine64
#1
First off: this post does not aim to discredit Pine's efforts in bringing this KS to reality.
Instead, it's to highlight the current limitations (as of 16 Feb 2016) of the Pine, so that users can make informed decisions on their pledge / purchases.

All information here are consolidated from various threads that have been discussed in this forum / from KS.
Credit goes to original posters of the information.

If i'm missing some stuff or I've not placed the correct facts here, please let me know and I'll amend them accordingly.

So here's the list:

1) HD video from Netflix (don't even go to 4K on this topic)
Looking at this article, we know that Netflix does not certify a lot of hardware for HD readiness.
So in this case, if you are looking to use Pine64 as a media center, you may be hit with this limitation.
No idea if there are any workarounds at the moment.

2) Linux: running Linux on Pine64 is not ready *yet*.
Based on discussions here, Allwinner's (I'll refer to them as AW from here on) SBCs are known to work well with Android, but not Linux.
It appears that team Pine A64 went into this thinking that they will be able to get Linux running with support from the community, and not knowing the limitations. If tllim's next meet up with AW can't get them to release all documentation to anyone who has not signed an NDA (aka the community), full Linux compatibility may be an issue (or will take a long time to get things fully working).

From the discussion in armbian, we also get to know that SoCs powered via micro usb may face power issues if one plugs in too many device / components. So this is a thing to watch for if you get sudden black outs / reboots.

Linux support is actually quite a big thing to me. I had been hoping to be able to run Linux on the Pine.
If Linux could run properly, a LOT of children and schools from the poor / developing communities can really benefit from this.
Imagine empowering them with the power of computing at such a low cost.
I really hope Linux development can take off.

3) No HDCP 2.2 support
This is not on the Pine64 due to licensing (5 figure fee per annum according to tllim)

4) Ram limit
Currently, this SoC can only support up to 3GB of ram. Whether this option will be available during Backerkit release, we do not know.
For 2 or 3GB on Android, I think that's more than enough.

That's all for now.

This is my first SBC purchase and I'm just trying things out. If Linux can take off, then I'll most likely have plans to distribute these.
Worst case scenario that it doesn't, then I'll just use the Pine64 as an entertainment unit for my kids. Smile
#2
Regarding point 2:

Just two days ago, longsleep posted this, http://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=293
It shows how to compile the Android kernel (version 3.10) and use it for GNU/Linux images.
He even shows a bootlog with Arch Linux running on the Pine64. The people at
http://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=211 did not notice it yet ;-).

There is a work in progress (WIP) on the mainline Linux kernel that can boot on the Pine64.
However, it does not have yet ported the Ethernet, MMC and other kernel drivers,
so it is not yet of practical use.
Here is the post, http://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?t...34#pid1934

It is important that for now the Android kernel can work to boot Linux distributions.

The required source code is more or less there (Linux kernel source in that "BSP" package).
The drivers need to be adapted so that they can be accepted into the mainline Linux kernel.
If we want to ask something the AW engineers, we need to have specific questions.
We do not have such a list yet. We either make such a list, or we ask tlim to arrange
so that an AW engineer comes to this forum and answers developer questions.
#3
Well there are the various things that pine64 does not have that might be useful in a future version, but a lot of these might bump the chip into a higher price bracket:
  • Sata port(s)
  • USB-3 instead of USB-2 (but backwards compatible with USB-2)
  • More memory
  • 2.1mm power connection
  • Faster/newer processor
  • Onboard flash memory that you can install an OS to in addition to micro-SD card and/or 2nd flash drive
  • Having on board temp, motion sensor
  • Having on board GPS
  • Having a better camera as an add-on

However, with the current board:
  • Update the wiki connector page (http://wiki.pine64.org/images/d/da/Pine64_Connector.JPG) to specify the exact plug used (i.e. enough detail that you could order the part from digikey), specifying that the 2x17 and 2x20 pinouts are 0.1", the microphone is 3.5mm stereo with microphone (and pinout for the 3.5mm), power switch, IR sensor, etc.;
  • Provide pinout documents for the camera/lcd/touch panel connectors;
  • What pins (if any) are 5v tolerant;
  • How to access all of the pins/buses on the pi-2/euler/wifi breakout areas in both Android and Linux OSes;
  • What is needed to adjust the RTC for different temps;
  • Specify exactly what type of lithium battery can be connected to the pine64;
  • Provide wattage (power draw) for the pine64 under different scenarios (low power mode, with ethernet enabled, with wifi/bluetooth attached, with LCD attached, with both LCD and camera attached, etc.), and give how long the pine64 will run with the 8000mAh battery.
#4
(02-16-2016, 06:09 AM)taros Wrote: Regarding point 2:

Just two days ago, longsleep posted this, http://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=293
It shows how to compile the Android kernel (version 3.10) and use it for GNU/Linux images.
He even shows a bootlog with Arch Linux running on the Pine64. The people at
http://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=211 did not notice it yet ;-).

There is a work in progress (WIP) on the mainline Linux kernel that can boot on the Pine64.
However, it does not have yet ported the Ethernet, MMC and other kernel drivers,
so it is not yet of practical use.
Here is the post, http://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?t...34#pid1934

It is important that for now the Android kernel can work to boot Linux distributions.

The required source code is more or less there (Linux kernel source in that "BSP" package).
The drivers need to be adapted so that they can be accepted into the mainline Linux kernel.
If we want to ask something the AW engineers, we need to have specific questions.
We do not have such a list yet. We either make such a list, or we ask tlim to arrange
so that an AW engineer comes to this forum and answers developer questions.

I actually saw that thread before I posted, but isn't "Android kernel can work to boot Linux distributions" sort of emulation?
Most of the drivers aren't adapted, so basically Linux is not working.
Pine guys advertised the Pine as something that works with Android, Ubuntu and OpenHab.
I pledged thinking that "Ubuntu works on this thing, wow!". That makes it kind of a false advertising, no?

In my opinion, we can't be ones coming up with the questions to ask AW engineers.
I'd expect that Pine has at least an active team working on making Ubuntu work on.
The post by KHGOH on armbian was kind of a surprise to me, as it meant that no one on the team is actually working on Linux.
And the whole thread gave very clear indication that Pine team does not have anyone with the expertise to know that AW chips are well known to be closed source, with outdated BSP.

Like I mentioned previously, I'm taking this pledge as a toy to try things out.
But for those out there who have pledged thinking that Linux does work on it, I feel their pain.

I believe Pine team should look into hiring a professional to help them get Linux onto Pine, so as to fulfil their promise that Ubuntu works on the Pine. Just my 2 cents.  :roll eyes:
Update: Just read the latest update from Johnson.
Quote:We do have a team working on Linux and will be releasing that as well very soon.
I hope they are able to raise the appropriate questions to AW and get Linux working!
#5
(02-16-2016, 07:47 AM)SkimMilk Wrote:
(02-16-2016, 06:09 AM)taros Wrote: Regarding point 2:

Just two days ago, longsleep posted this, http://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=293
It shows how to compile the Android kernel (version 3.10) and use it for GNU/Linux images.
He even shows a bootlog with Arch Linux running on the Pine64. The people at
http://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=211 did not notice it yet ;-).

There is a work in progress (WIP) on the mainline Linux kernel that can boot on the Pine64.
However, it does not have yet ported the Ethernet, MMC and other kernel drivers,
so it is not yet of practical use.
Here is the post, http://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?t...34#pid1934

It is important that for now the Android kernel can work to boot Linux distributions.

The required source code is more or less there (Linux kernel source in that "BSP" package).
The drivers need to be adapted so that they can be accepted into the mainline Linux kernel.
If we want to ask something the AW engineers, we need to have specific questions.
We do not have such a list yet. We either make such a list, or we ask tlim to arrange
so that an AW engineer comes to this forum and answers developer questions.

I actually saw that thread before I posted, but isn't "Android kernel can work to boot Linux distributions" sort of emulation?
Most of the drivers aren't adapted, so basically Linux is not working.

The "Android" Linux kernel is the Linux kernel with adaptations (patches) that are specifically required to run Android.
It is feasible to reuse such a kernel for a GNU/Linux distribution and ignore those Android adaptations.
It takes some effort to remove the Android adaptations, but if a GNU/Linux "rootfs" is able to run, it's fine.
There is no "emulation" involved, it's just reuse of that kernel which is readily working.

(02-16-2016, 07:47 AM)SkimMilk Wrote: Pine guys advertised the Pine as something that works with Android, Ubuntu and OpenHab.
I pledged thinking that "Ubuntu works on this thing, wow!". That makes it kind of a false advertising, no?

I see several people trying to jump the gun here. It makes me feel uneasy.
The boards have not been delivered yet, so the Pine64 team is following their internal plan for their Android/Linux images.

The community is doing things, and from community work there is a early version of mainline Linux that can boot on the Pine64.
Also, the "Android" kernel is reused to boot distributions.

As a community member, I find it useful to have CyanogenMod 13 working on the Pine64 (it should be feasible with that "Android" kernel)
and have mainline Linux support (requires quite some more work). These have not been on the Kickstarter page, and I hope they happen.

(02-16-2016, 07:47 AM)SkimMilk Wrote: In my opinion, we can't be ones coming up with the questions to ask AW engineers.
I'd expect that Pine has at least an active team working on making Ubuntu work on.
The post by KHGOH on armbian was kind of a surprise to me, as it meant that no one on the team is actually working on Linux.
And the whole thread gave very clear indication that Pine team does not have anyone with the expertise to know that AW chips are well known to be closed source, with outdated BSP.

Have a look at http://www.fonearena.com/blog/137090/sam...tures.html
It shows the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, and it is running Linux 3.10. It is getting an Android 6.0 update shortly, and most likely it will remain on Linux 3.10.
It is big work even for major mobile phone manufacturers to follow the new Linux kernel releases.
Although unfortunate, it is common for boards and devices to run specific versions of the Linux kernel. Those versions coincide with Android Linux kernel releases (3.4, 3.10, etc).

The ability to have the latest version of the Linux kernel to run on the Pine64 was not promised on the Kickstarter page.
If we have questions or if an engineer can join a development thread here, it will be about issues to help the development of that latest version of Linux.

(02-16-2016, 07:47 AM)SkimMilk Wrote: Like I mentioned previously, I'm taking this pledge as a toy to try things out.
But for those out there who have pledged thinking that Linux does work on it, I feel their pain.

I believe Pine team should look into hiring a professional to help them get Linux onto Pine, so as to fulfil their promise that Ubuntu works on the Pine. Just my 2 cents.  :roll eyes:
Update: Just read the latest update from Johnson.
Quote:We do have a team working on Linux and will be releasing that as well very soon.
I hope they are able to raise the appropriate questions to AW and get Linux working!
#6
No offense taros but now you are just mudding up the waters.

True Android uses the 3.10 kernel with binary blobs/drivers specifically written for it, but a true Linux system it is not!

With that sort of implementation there are so many attack vectors in terms of security that will make it an issue for being used in a production environment. There are also performance/stability issues that going that route will bring about.

One should be able to provide a true compiled kernel for this specific set of hardware along with the appropriate drivers to truly boast the phrase "Linux Support".

This is marketing talk for those who don't know any better. The pine team will never get anything out of allwinner and they know it, but are just too afraid to tell the backers of what the reality of the Linux situation is.

3D acceleration will not work so a Desktop environment will be a pain. For those who wish to use this in a headless environment think of the implications of running a kernel that gets updated at the soc manufacturers leisure (allwinner) along with it's proprietary drivers. I am not saying that 3.10 is bad I am just wondering how many security patches have been released since the last time it was revised by the AllWinner team. So running this in a production environment that is exposed to the net would be risky to say the least.

I know you want to boast the Pine board is the latest greatest thing but don't misinform the public and those that know better ok? Some of us probably know more than you Wink.

Thus from everything stated here in the forums compiling/booting linux has been a pain and the lack of driver support for onboard devices is a joke.

This is just another glorified android device plain and simple so please save yourself from becoming the next ShamWow guy, I am not interested in marketing mumbo-jumbo.

You get the sources for the peripherals and a linux kernel that doesn't need Android to run then you will have my attention!
If you like my work be sure to check out my site or wish to donate to the cause

Cheers Big Grin
#7
The book "Getting Started with CubieBoard" says "There has been several recent releases of Fedora for the Allwinner A10, A10S, A13, and A20 seriesof SoCs.".   A Google "Allwinner Ubuntu" search shows people have been able to install Ubuntu on Allwinner A10 tablets.  This doesn't mean Ubuntu will run on a Pine A64.  But it does mean it is not a hopeless cause. Hence lets give  the Pine A64 originators some s;lack and then wait to see what they come u with.  

hrh1818
#8
The following information is from the Hardkernel Odroid C2 Web page.  

 ARM 64bit is a very new platform and some system specific Linux softwares are not working stably at this moment. 
   So there might be the compatibility issues frequently and we may need longer time to fix the issues.
* Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is also on the alpha stage and it causes the instability and incompatibility problems.


Hence it is not surprising it will take considerable time for the Pine A64 originators and Allwinners to produce a 64 bit version of Ubuntu for the Pine A64.  
#9
Great to know that Linux images are coming up and working (backers check out update #31 on Kickstarter / your email)!

Thanks to long sleep and the Pine 64 team for working hard on this! Smile
#10
(03-01-2016, 10:04 PM)SkimMilk Wrote: Great to know that Linux images are coming up and working (backers check out update #31 on Kickstarter / your email)!

Thanks to long sleep and the Pine 64 team for working hard on this! Smile

The credit goes to longsleep, cheers.


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